Your baby is irritable, grizzly, hates lying on his back, spits up or vomits often, has hiccups constantly and he is a nightmare to feed: he starts to feed voraciously, then he wriggles, squirms and ‘throws’ himself off the breast or when he isn’t doing this, he wants to be permanently attached to your breast.
After those big fat super pads and mesh undies that are a necessary postnatal ‘thing’, discovering that breastfeeding can delay the return of your periods is a welcome bonus.
This period free time though, varies among individual women. Most mothers who continue to breastfeed will resume periods between nine and eighteen months after birth. However, while some lucky ladies can go a year or more without a glimpse of Aunty Flo, others can find her visiting within just a few weeks.
While it’s an absolutely primal response to worry that your baby is getting enough milk – after all there are no markers on your breasts telling you ‘full’ or ‘empty’ – there are some reliable signs that your baby is getting enough milk. So, instead of worrying or allowing undermining comments about your milk supply create self-doubt, here is a checklist to help you believe in your boobs:
Breastfeeding mothers don’t get out of bed in the morning and think, now where can I flaunt my breasts today? Most mothers are so overwhelmed with sleep deprivation and the responsibility of meeting their babies’ needs, they don’t have the energy to plan how to get their boobs out to scare small children or shame mothers who aren’t breastfeeding.
Whatever the reasons for offering bottles, there are gentle ways to do this that won’t compromise either your own or your baby’s breastfeeding experience. For instance, some babies will find the fast flow of a bottle much easer than breastfeeding so will refuse the breast – this can be heart breaking for you. So let’s discuss how you can offer your baby a bottle respectfully, without stress or risking your breastfeeding experience.
There is evidence that allowing babies to feed according to their own appetite, rather than imposing rigid feeding schedules, is more compatible with the biology of mothers and babies. Although breastfeeding according to a schedule may seem to work at first, many women who use strict feeding schedules in the early weeks find that their milk supply dwindles and their baby may be weaned by about three months.
Just as with any medication, whether herbal or pharmaceutical, women should be advised of all possible contraindications so they can weigh up risks versus benefits and make choices accordingly. It is particularly important when you are breastfeeding or pregnant that you are aware of any side effects that may be harmful to yourself or your baby.
Simply knowing night feeds are a fact of life right now, doesn’t mean you won’t be hanging out for uninterrupted sleep as soon as possible. The thing is, it’s perfectly normal for your your baby to need night feeds through his first year of life and possibly even longer. Thankfully, though, there are some tips that can help you get more rest and make night-time breastfeeds much easier.
You probably have lots of questions about breastfeeding. Here, Pinky McKay (she's an IBCLC Lactation Consultant) answers the 5 most common questions breastfeeding mothers ask her - see her answers and boost your Mama confidence.